Wizarding World fans, it’s time to get excited once more because another wave of LEGO Harry Potter sets has hit the shelves and, much like last year’s releases, there’s a lot of new magical awesomeness up for grabs.
Set Number: 75945
Minifigures: Harry Potter, Sirius Black, Dementors x2
From the Night Bus to a Hungarian Horntail themed Tri-Wizard set, this year’s wave of releases has taken inspiration straight from books/movies three and four, the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire and they look amazing. At the lowest end of price range is where we find the set I was lucky enough to receive as a birthday present recently and spoiler alert, I love it.
Based on the most iconic scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Expecto Patronum recreates the moment that Harry and Sirius are by the lake, surrounded by Dementors, when a mysterious stag Patronus comes out of the shadows to save them. It’s definitely one of the big highlights of that particular movie, and so, with such a low price-tag, definitely one to get excited about if you’re a Potter fan and on a budget.
How well does this set recreate the magic? Let’s find out.
Given the source material this set is based on, it’s not surprising that the minifigure collection in this set is superb, especially for such a low-end set. We get Harry Potter and Sirius Black, two of the biggest characters in the entire franchise (well, for three of the books/movies, at least – poor Sirius). Added to this special pairing are a couple of dementors, on the hunt for our Prisoner of Azkaban, all in all that’s quite a decent collection right there.
Kicking things off with the boy wizard himself and, in all honesty, Harry is the least interesting part of the set, there’s nothing spectacularly different about this variant compared to what we’ve seen before. Don’t get me wrong, the minifigure is design appropriate for the era in the franchise that the set is recreating, but sadly Harry’s wardrobe choice doesn’t leave much room for the LEGO designers to make an overly exciting creation as a result.
I’ll come back to the printing design shortly, but first I do want to highlight one very important difference with this minifigure, short bendable legs. Last year, LEGO released a series of their LEGO Minifigures collection dedicated to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and one of the biggest innovations of that release was that the short characters had bendable minilegs for the first time. Sadly, however, this design didn’t make it into the bigger Potter sets released around the same time and we were stuck with the standard legs. This is something that has been rectified for 2019 thankfully and as you can see from the image, this guy does have bendable legs.
Moving back on to the printing and the torso isn’t overly detailed, but that’s thanks to the source material. That said, LEGO have done the best they could with the simple blue jacket and blue t-shirt combo adding crease lines and a very prominent zip down each side.
Sadly, the back of the torso has nothing to add other than a couple of basic lines continuing the design from the front at the hem. Hair-wise and unsurprisingly it’s exactly the same as the last wave of Harry minifigures, no change there. Similarly, the head is reused from previous variants.
Moving on to something a bit more interesting, the Sirius Black minifigure, and while Harry’s Godfather has seen a few variations over the years, this is definitely the best and most movie accurate. Every inch of this minifigure is superb.
Compared to Sirius’ previous outings this minifigure is a work of art, with movie accurate printing from top of the torso to the knees, it’s a near perfect replica – to the best of LEGO’s ability. The three-quarter length shabby cloak that Black wears is wonderfully done, with holes clearly visible on both front and back as well as the buttons. What is really impressive is the attention to detail in the fact that the bottom of the cloak has a brown tint, where the dirt is riding up his clothing.
Underneath the cloak, the famous Azkaban striped prisoner outfit is clearly visible, though again clearly ragged and worn as it was in the movie, ripped and torn from the neckline to the bottom of the chest. Black’s prominent chest tattoos are also clearly visible, though the skin colour on the chest does look a little grey compared to the head piece – not sure what’s happened there.
The back of the minifigures torso is a lot less detailed, it’s the back of a cloak so not much to see. That said, the shabby look of his prisoner garb is still very obvious thanks to the holes printed on. Other than this, however, it’s just the standard crease lines.
The head-piece is perfect for the character, whether it’s been used elsewhere or not I cannot say, but it fits the look of the character perfectly, if a little neater than the character deserves. In addition to the beard, the face also features age and cheekbone lines to give the look a bit more character, it works really well here. There are, of course, two faces, one angry, one looking fairly happy to be free of prison, no doubt. The final piece, the hair, again looks far tidier than we’d expect from this early version of Sirius. It works really well, but it’s probably more suited for Order of the Phoenix Black than Azkaban. While I can’t be 100%, it’s more than likely that this side-parted long hair has been used before on other minifigures, though that said it is only recently that LEGO have made such textured and detailed longer hair pieces and if you look at the images, you’ll agree that this is a fairly detailed hair piece.
All in all, a fantastic minifigure.
Moving on to something a little bit different, the Dementors are superb. As prominent a part of the Prisoner of Azkaban as Harry and Sirius, this set would in no way be complete without them and thankfully we get two here.
This isn’t the first time that this design has made it into a set, the last wave of Harry Potter sets in 2018 included a Hogwarts Express which debuted this newer design. When you look back at the history of dementors in LEGO, this design is a far cry from the very basic figure that appeared as late as 2011 and it’s mostly thanks to the base piece, the legs shall we say.
An entirely unique design, from what I’ve seen elsewhere at least, the base piece is a curved and twisted solid piece of plastic with a central front pillar painted black. The effect you get as a result of this twisted design is that of a floating liquid/gas form rather than solid legs, exactly what we saw in the movies. Surprisingly, unlike most caped characters, the back of the torso has no printing on it whatsoever, so we lose nothing by having the bulky (sadly paper-based) patchy black cape. The front printing on the torso is a bizarre design, it looks like it has more in common with a fish of sorts rather than a wizard. That’s not to say it’s not great, it’s designed to look more like a decomposing body, but in a family friendly way, and it works for the most part.
The head piece if as bleak as you’d expect from a dementor, with subtle cheek bone lines and only a circular mouth. Luckily this very spartan design is covered over by a standard black hood piece which easily fits over the head without issue.
Well, you can’t have a set called Expecto Patronum and not include Harry’s Patronus, can you?
The translucent blue stag is actually one of the main things that peaked my interest back when this wave of sets were announced, it’s a unique inclusion into LEGO and one that looks superb – Harry Potter fans should be going nuts for this set just for this. The majority of the figure itself comes as one piece, much in the same way as a LEGO horse, however, there is space to place a riding minifigure but in this case that is covered up by a similarly coloured 2×1 piece.
In all honesty, there’s not a lot I can say about this that isn’t in the picture, but one thing of note is that the antlers are rubbery plastic and bend easily so that they aren’t easily broken off – definitely a win for parents giving this to younger LEGO fans.
Lakeside Scenery Build
Given the piece count and price, the scenery build is understandable not overly complex, but the lakeside scene with the two large trees certainly does the job. While similar in look, the two tree builds do vary enough to ensure that the overall construction experience isn’t simply build, complete, repeat. That said, this isn’t going to take an experienced LEGO fan more than about 10-15 minutes to construct, especially considering this is marketed at the 7+ age range.
The building techniques for the tree are definitely unique, as rather than the standard building up of bricks to construct the trunk, these trees are built by stacking long pieces flat and then turning them up on themselves. Additionally, brown ‘A’ shaped brackets are used at the top of the tree to create the vertical branches, the whole design of the tree is like nothing you will likely have seen before, not even in LEGO Harry Potter sets.
As you’ll see from the images, only one of the trees is connected to the lakeside plate. While simplistic in design, the two-tone grey pieces mixed with some clearly dead foliage adds more than enough detail. My only real annoyance here comes from a person who likes to build bigger scenes from sets like this and that’s made a little more difficult because of all the arches pieces that make the base, a bit of modification will be required – that’s just me, however.
As this is just a scenery build rather than some kind of vehicle of building, play interaction will require a bit more imagination. There is, however, a stud shooter connected to the tree not built into the main base which will shoot out what I’m assuming is something related to the Patronus charm based on the colour of the circular piece.
Overall, a great model for setting up the scene that the set is going for, but in terms of playtime, imagination and the minifigures are going to be more valuable here.
Overall, the Expecto Patronum set has a lot to offer Harry Potter fans, it’s a well design recreation of an iconic scene from the Prisoner of Azkaban.
With my Harry Potter fan head on, I love this set, the minfiigure collection and the unique Patronus make this a must have for me and as I missed out on one of the dementors in last year’s sets, I’m exceptionally happy to now have two of them.
With my LEGO fan head on, you get a lot for your money. In addition to a great scenery build, if a little lacking in interactive play, you get the aforementioned dementors along with two of the most important characters in the movie and Sirius’ new design is a fry cry from the less than impressive minifigures of the past, it’s just perfect.
As the cheapest set in this wave of sets, it’s a great budget set for any fan of the Wizard World…
- A superb minifigure collection, even without including Harry himself.
- The Patronus stag looks as great in person as it does in the promotional images, plus the antlers are bendable so won’t snap off.
- An interesting scene build with a unique take on tree construction.
- More down to the source material, but the Harry minifigure is a little boring.
The cheapest of the new wave of sets with quite a low piece count, is more than made up for by a superb cast of minifigures. Harry’s minifigure, while movie accurate is a little boring, but the new prisoner Sirius is one of the best Harry Potter themed minifigure I’ve seen in ages. Throw in two awesome dementors and you’re on to a winner for any Wizarding World fan.
The scenery piece offers some interesting build techniques, but the overall value of the set definitely comes from the Patronus and the minifigures.